Under Fire Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Overall, how do the men feel about the things they carry with them?

2. In Chapter 15, when the men run low on supplies, what does the narrator give to Paradis?

3. When the men are on leave, it is evident that Blaire changed in what way?

4. What do the men think is the best way to augment their meager wages?

5. What does the Foreign Legionnaire try to give to his comrade?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The equipment, appearance, and clothing of the poilus is discussed at length throughout the book. They are depicted as individuals, each with a unique look and personality. This individuality forms an important theme in the novel, demonstrating that the soldiers are normal people thrust into circumstances that they have difficulty adapting to and understanding. They maintain this individuality until the final chapter of the book, when the rain and mud make the men of both sides appear the same.

Part 1) Using examples from the book, explain how the author establishes the individuality of the soldiers on the basis of appearance.

Part 2) Discuss how this individuality reflects the soldier's unique backgrounds and temperaments.

Part 3) How does this individuality become an important theme in the novel? Why is it important that the author picks out and differentiates individuals among the masses of the French army? Explain how this theme is developed in the novel, starting with the introduction of the individual soldiers, and ending with the reflection near the end of the novel that war is made up of individuals, but that they fade into nothing in the grand scheme of the struggle.

Essay Topic 2

Lamuse is a unique character with strange, but internally consistent behavior. He is eccentric, but extremely loyal to his squad. Among the many normal men the narrator describes being drawn into the war, Lamuse learns to adapt well and demonstrates his strong character at many points in the novel.

Part 1) Describe Lamuse as a character. Who is he? Where does he come from? What is his appearance? What are his personality traits?

Part 2) The narrator often uses comparisons to various animals to describe Lamuse. Cite some of these examples and explain their purpose. What do these comparisons establish about Lamuse?

Part 3) Explain some of Lamuse's eccentricities and odd behavior, as well as some ways that he demonstrates his loyalty and dedication to the squad.

Essay Topic 3

The machine gun is a feared weapon on the battlefield, and rightly so. Its effectiveness is seen in detail in the chapter "Under Fire," and the men discuss it on many occasions. It is the primary reason for the existence of trench warfare, and the cause of most of the misery on which the book centers. The machine gunners themselves represent an almost élite class in the army, being specially favored targets for retribution and looting, and receiving a variety of favors from their own side.

Part 1) Use information from the book to explain what a machine gun is and its impact on warfare in the time of the novel.

Part 2) Explain the men's perceptions and fears about machine guns. Cite specific examples to justify or disprove these perceptions.

Part 3) Discuss some of the ways that machine gunners are treated differently from other soldiers, both by their own forces and by the enemy. Why do these men receive this treatment?

(see the answer keys)

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